Konono n°1

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Wed, 23. 2. 2011 - 19:30
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Palac Akropolis


Konono N°1's "Congotronics" album introduced the world to the strange and spectacular electro-traditional mixtures which are being concocted in the suburbs of Kinshasa, Congo. World music, electronica and avant-rock aficionados have all been equally amazed by this otherworldly music, which has driven the international press to come up with some surprising comparisons (from Can and Krautrock to Jimi Hendrix, Lee Perry and proto-techno!...).


The band was founded back in the 1960s by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembé (a traditional instrument sometimes called "sanza" or "thumb piano", consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator). The band's line-up includes three electric likembés (bass, medium and treble), equipped with hand-made microphones built from magnets salvaged from old car parts, and plugged into amplifiers. There's also a rhythm section which uses traditional as well as makeshift percussion (pans, pots and car parts), three singers, three dancers and a sound system featuring these famous megaphones.

The musicians come from an area which sits right across the border between Congo and Angola. Their repertoire draws largely on Bazombo trance music, but they've had to incorporate the originally-unwanted distorsions of their sound system. This has made them develop a unique style which, from a sonic viewpoint, has accidentally connected them with the aesthetics of the most experimental forms of rock and electronic music, as much through their sounds than through their sheer volume (they play in front of a wall of speakers) and
their merciless grooves.

Konono N°1's debut album was the inaugural release in Crammed's Congotronics series, which is devoted to the exciting electro/traditional musical hybrids from the Congo.

The band is coming with a new album ''Assume Crash Position'' this time!

The band's music is and will always be a very precise mixture of traditonal bazombo trance music with the distortion of their modern home-made equipment... but their sound on "Assume Crash Position" is somehow deeper, more layered and ethereal, without losing any of that signature raw power and driving energy. Those gloriously extended full band tracks take off like never before - but also, for the first time, we hear Konono stripped right back to
their essence: the album's final song, "Nakobala Lisusu Te", features just the band's founder and master, Mingiedi (now in his late-seventies) and his likembe. "I don't feel like getting married any more", he sings in sweet and mournful tones, "because women nowadays think marriage is just a six month affair".
The album title is a rough translation from the Kikongo meaning of "Konono", and if you've heard or seen the band in full flight before you'll have some idea of the ride you're in for here.


Presales: standing 370 CZK, sitting 420 CZK
On venue: 400/450 CZK